CAA on disruptive passengers
The UK Civil Aviation Authority has revealed that it has already received more than 200 incident reports about disruptive passengers from UK airlines in 2018.
This was before the busy summer flying season had even begun. This compares with 417 for the whole of 2017 and 415 for 2016.
Although the clear majority of passengers enjoy the experience of trouble-free flying, the CAA is calling on airlines and enforcement agencies to make better use of laws already in place. The Civil Aviation Authority has said that it will work closely with the industry and government to bring prosecutions against disruptive passengers.
Richard Stephenson, Director of the UK Civil Aviation Authority has said that criminal charges should be brought against offenders to act as a deterrent – passengers need to know they will face the full weight of the law should they be found guilty of disorderly behaviour.
Offenders can be jailed for up to five years for endangering the safety of an aircraft. They can also be charged with specific offences of being drunk on board an aircraft and for acting in a disruptive manner. Smoking and failing to obey the commands of the captain are also against the law and can be punished by a fine or imprisonment.
The CAA has provided the following list of criminal offences which are contained within the Air Navigation Order which can be used by the police and Crown Prosecution Service to deal with cases of passenger disruption:
1. Endangering the safety of an aircraft
A person must not recklessly or negligently act in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft, or any person in an aircraft.
2. Drunkenness in aircraft
A person must not enter any aircraft when drunk, or be drunk in any aircraft. A person must not, when acting as a member of the crew of any aircraft or being carried in any aircraft for the purpose of acting as a member of the crew, be under the influence of drink or a drug to such an extent as to impair their capacity so to act.
3. Smoking in aircraft
Notices indicating when smoking is prohibited must be exhibited so as to be visible from each passenger seat. A person must not smoke in any compartment of an aircraft registered in the United Kingdom at a time when smoking is prohibited in that compartment by a notice to that effect exhibited by or on behalf of the pilot in command of the aircraft.
4. Authority of pilot in command of an aircraft
Every person in an aircraft must obey all lawful commands which the pilot in command of that aircraft may give for the purpose of securing the safety of the aircraft and of persons or property carried in the aircraft, or the safety, efficiency or regularity of air navigation.
5. Acting in a disruptive manner
A person must not while in an aircraft- (a) use any threatening, abusive or insulting words towards a member of the crew of the aircraft; (b) behave in a threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly manner towards a member of the crew of the aircraft; or (c) intentionally interfere with the performance by a member of the crew of the aircraft of the crew member’s duties.
[Source: CAA. 15 August, 2018]